Getting My Hair Did

13 Aug
Getting My Hair Did

I went to a beauty school yesterday for a haircut.  This is another one of those situations that is a little stressful for me.  My anxiety begins when I know I’m getting my haircut. This can begin as early as two days prior to scissors coming anywhere near my head. It really has to do with what the hairdresser will think of me: Do they consider me gross? Are they totally grossed out because I didn’t wash my hair or because I kind of let myself go, hairwise? Do I have huge chunks of earwax that I don’t even know about? Are they disgusted even touching me because I might smell like old lady since I live alone so my house always smells like old vegetable stew?

I finally work up enough nerve to go. I think it’s a very bold move to let a student touch your hair. I should consider this an act of charity on the student but for some reason I think it’s a punishment.  I always feel like they think they’re better than me and I can’t tell them differently because they have sharp objects moving very fast all around my head.  If they screw up, I’m wearing hats for the next eight months. I know this because of the horrible Great Clips Incident of 1997. And no, I don’t want to talk about it.

So I go knowing that this could easily and possibly go really, really wrong. But still I go.

The school is located in what used to be the Huck’s Convenience Store where I would go to buy my candy on my lunch breaks in high school. (Seriously, this candy thing goes way back.)

The first thing I notice as I open the same door that lead me to my daily dose of cherry Nibs is the odor that thrusts itself up my nasal passages and almost makes me cry. I walk up to the desk.

“So do I just sign in?” I ask the desk lady.

“Yeah,” (Nice to meet you, Chatty Cathy.)

“Ok…let’s see, it’s eleven thirty and–WOW that is pungent,” I say, unable to exhale the smell from my nostrils.

“What?” (I’m sorry, do you speak in sentences or just blurt one word answers out?)

“That smell. How do you guys stand that all day without getting sick?”

“I don’t smell anything,” says Chatty Cathy, looking over at the Silent Bob who has now sidled up beside her, “What does it smell like?”

“Perm.”  (Two can play at the one word answer, lady.)

“Oh that,” she says, leaving “that” hanging as if she’s going to say more but decides that I don’t deserve any more explanation because of my lowly station in life.

I stand there for a minute, lowering my chin as I wait for her to finish, then realize that she IS finished so I turn on my heels and go sit in the waiting area. The waiting area is almost smaller than a normal sized public restroom stall. I just sit down when I hear them discussing me as if I’m not four feet away.

“Jenn,” says Chatty, not calling me but not saying it low enough so that I can’t hear.

“Jenn?” says a short slim girl who I swear is only thirteen years old.

I get up and walk towards her as we exchange smiles. She asks me if I want her to wash my hair.

“I didn’t wash it today so..” I trail off, assuming she would pick up my cue and lead me to a basin.

“OK,” says Slim, as she points me towards her station. Apparently my hair will not be washed today unless I wash it when I go home.

I sit down as she goes off somewhere, not saying a word. I look around and make eye contact with this elderly woman who looks ridiculous sitting across the room with foil sticking out all over her head as if she’s trying to contact the mother ship. We hold each other’s glance just long enough as if to say,

“You’re a bold woman taking your chances here. I wish you luck.”  We both silently applaud each other’s bravery.

Slim returns with a tiny maroon cape. She drapes it around my neck in a way that makes me feel secure in her abilities. I mean, if she can drape that professionally,  I’m in good hands…right?

I’m not good at making decisions, especially when it comes to my hair because I have absolutely no sense of style.  If the person that was cutting my hair told me that the mullet was coming back, I’m scared that there would be a slight chance that I might let them give me one. So the conversation always goes like this:

Slim: So…what are we doing today? (Technically it is “we” because we’re both involved but I don’t plan on actively participating. That being said, if a hairdresser ever said, ” So what am I doing today?” it might startle me as to whether or not they even knew where they were.)

Me:  I just want it cut shoulder length.

Slim: Just straight across or with layers?

Me: What do most people do?

Slim: Layers.

Me: Yeah…let’s do that then. (Again, “let’s” as in “we” because if I just say DO THAT THEN, I’m kind of being bossy. Scissors close to head, remember?)

She doesn’t waste any time, just starts frantically clipping away at my hair after the obligatory, ’tilt your head down for me”.

This is where things go one of two ways: I either get someone working on my hair who can’t or won’t shut up and I worry that they’re not focused enough, or I get one that over-focuses on my hair and won’t say a word, making me extremely uncomfortable in the silence.

Yesterday I got the latter.  I sat still and quiet for as long as was possible (for me) because I don’t want to force anyone to talk to me.

But the silence makes me nervous and when I’m nervous (or have too much caffeine or am manic) I.can’t.shut.up. This is why I would not be a good witness at a trial because I’d go in as a witness and nervously talk my way into being the prime suspect.

So I start the conversation.

Me: So do these hours count as credits?

Slim: Yeah. (Snip. Snip. Cut. Cut. FOCUS.)

Me: How long does it take to get your degree?

Slim: If you go full-time eleven months. If you go part-time, sixteen.

Me: Wow (long dead pause) So do they have job placement services?

Slim: No.

It is then that I give up because I am failing miserably. Job placement services? Really? That’s the best I could come up with? Why didn’t she say “Um…yeah, they have job placement services. They tell you to go to a hair place to get a job yourself.”

I sit quietly for the rest of the cut, which takes about ten more minutes. They are the longest minutes of my life. I don’t utter a word. But I am still nervous.

If this had been the Casey Anthony trial, I would have been found guilty.


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4 responses to “Getting My Hair Did

  1. Crystal

    August 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Love it Jenn. I have only had my hair cut at a school once. It was back in the day and now is a mexican restaraunt. I do know what your saying about the awkward conversation. I always seem to get the ones that tell me their life story in the 15 min that I am there and then I end up leaving with the same hair style that I went in with even though I swore it was going to be different this time!!!!

  2. Nicole

    August 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    You know I can relate to a lot of what you write about and this one is no different. I absolutely dread getting my haircut. The last time I got my hair cut was last summer and I was so nervous I let the hair dresser talk me into a Pixie cut. Now, that wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t start with hair past my shoulders. I was traumatized and I’ve been trying to grow it out since. I feel I have been rambling…. 🙂 keep up the awesome posts.

  3. Ron Tucker

    August 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    It’s no different with men….use to have a woman who cut my hair…she was a barber as well as a trained hair dresesr…loved the way she cut my hair, but I stopped going because all she ever talked about was her stomach surgeries…just wasn’t interested in knowing how many miles of colon came out of her body…the smell of perm sure didn’t help the situation much LOL

  4. Drew

    August 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I’m a guy and my friend goes and gets his hair colored at the college every few weeks. He likes to flirt with the young girls. He talked me into going a couple of times. One of those times the young girl asks if I want a shave. I think to myself that that sounds kind of nice. I’ve never had one with a straight razor before. Holly smoke, what a dumb decision. I think I was their two and a half hours. A straight razor cannot compair to a three razor modern shaver cleaned up in the shower. At the end of the shave she says “bet you won’t do that again will ya’. She knew. I went home and cleaned it up in the shower.
    I enjoyed reading this a lot and laughed. ~Drew


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